APO ISLAND | H – H Rooms for Rent is the Cheapest Accommodation in the Island

The guys were planning to pitch a tent somewhere in the island, and stay outdoors for the night. I was not sure about that since I haven’t read from other travel guides if it’s okay to do so. But the lady from the information office informed us that it is prohibited to set up camp anywhere in the island. She then pointed us H -H Rooms For Rent, the cheapest lodging house of the five accommodations found at the Apo Island. Lucky us!

H – H Rooms For Rent is a lodging house of plywood-thin-walled rooms on the second floor making it look like a tree house. It has 5 rooms, and charges 150PhP/Pax with rooms accommodating 2 -3 persons, and 2 shared bathroom for everyone in the house. We saved 100PhP off from the expected 250PhP budget we had for that night. Maybe because probably H – H Rooms for Rent is new, or what.
The guys insisted that the bathroom were just for toilet use, and we were to take our baths in an open space where a water well for the community water source stood agape. Okay, they were informed by the caretaker that water availability inside the bathrooms were limited, thus the reason why open area bath was instructed. Then again, we were only told of that because we were a group in large number, and there was a couple that was staying in the house at that time too. Ofcourse the guys bathe there, oblivious to my fast-but-not-so-good camera skills, while a few of us took privacy in the bathrooms. Yes, Peter was howling like a wolf at me. The alpha-male has spoken. So the reason why I was not excited to take a bath outside other than prying eyes, is fast camera shutters.

The ground floor is an open space for dining, and a small kitchen where the staff can prepare meals is so rustic, it reminded me of the grandparents house back in their province before they had it renovated. For an agreed price, meals were prepared by the caretakers, and fresh fish, produce, and condiments were bought from a fisherman, and the small sari-sari store a few steps down the street. Just make sure you inform the caretakers what time you like your meals to be served.

Oh! With plywood-thin walls separating the rooms, we heard midnight sounds that night. And it was not from crickets, or the slow rustle of the leaves, our giggles would not make it stop, until we eventually fell asleep.

TRAVEL NOTES:

+ Support the local community by buying your food, and drinks in the island.
+ Apo Island has a swamp area located at the western section of the island, mosquitoes can come in brute force. These lodging houses offers mosquito nets, but in case that your room is not equipped with one, you can always ask the caretakers for it. Peter bought mosquito coils, and made sure that we light one up before calling it a night. Yeps, he’s just that type of guy.
+ Electricity is only available at 6AM – 9PM, the house caretaker left our group flashlights to use. You can can ask if you can borrow one if you don’t have flashlight with you.

2013 | My Top 15 Travel Blogs

It’s hard to pick favorites when you blog hop on a good list of helpful travel blogs around. And it’s harder to come around blogs that really offers the good stuff — from information, itineraries, travel stories, insightful posts, and to those whose passion for travel mirrors their craft. In response to The 2013 Top 15 Pinoy Travel Blog Poll by Out Of Town Blog, here’s a list made of the blogs that has been helpful on my travel planning, wander lusting, and my source of entertaining travel reads.

 

Pinoy Adventurista
Lakas Ng Trip
Pinay Solo Backpacker
Pinay Travel Junkie
The Travelling Dork

If you haven’t, I hope you get to check these blogs out, and follow them too! Enjoy reading!

APO ISLAND Accommodation Guide | Resorts, & Cheap Lodging Houses

Depending on your budget, there are currently 5 accommodations at Apo Island that offers budget accommodation to nicely built, and comfortable resorts. There won’t be too much difficulty for you to choose from. You might like to check them out if you’re visiting for a short time when you get there. But if you’re planning on scuba diving, or getting some lessons there, you might like to stay at the resort you may avail of diving services from.
Here’s a list of the accommodations at Apo Island, Negros Oriental:
Apo Island Beach Resort
www.apoislandresort.com
apoislandresort@yahoo.com
+63910 219 3959
Location: Beachfront
Food: With indoor, and outdoor space for dining; Outdoor bar

It has both private rooms with a view, and dormitory type accommodations. Rates starts at 800PhP for their dormitory type accommodation. Regular room rates starts at 2500PhP that accommodates two persons. The rooms include fan, and private veranda.

Liberty Lodge and Dive
www.apoisland.com
liberty_apo.island@yahoo.com
+63920 238 5704
Location: Elevated; Sea Front; With rooms overlooking the sea
Food: With cafe; Regular rooms at double occupancy rates has meal inclusions
It has both private rooms with a view, and dormitory type accommodations. It has a very nice, and quaint cafe that allows guest to linger even if the lights has gone off. as long as you’re okay with candles, or flashlights. Rates starts at 800PhP for their dormitory type accommodation. Regular room rates start at 1300PhP for single occupancy, and 1950PhP for double occupancy. Inclusive of breakfast, lunch, and dinner meals for the room rates for two.
Mario Scuba Diving and Homestay
marspascobello@hotmail.com
+63906 361 7254
Location: Elevated; Sea Front; Some rooms with veranda overlooking the sea

Homestay rates is at 500PhP/2Pax for the small room, 600PhP/2Pax for the medium room, and 1000Php/2Pax for the big room. Each room are fan rooms, and has it’s own wash rooms. They also offer diving lessons, and/or services.

Ronors Lodging House
+63915 775 2422
Location: Inward the community; along the road leading to Marine Sanctuary
Food: You can add additional fee for meals to be prepared by the caretakers.
Private room rates that starts at 500PhP/2Pax. You can also avail of their 1000PhP rate with breakfast, lunch, and dinner meals inclusion. All rooms are fans rooms.
…………………………………………………………
Location: Inward the community; along the road leading to Marine Sanctuary
Food: Dining area on the ground floor; you can ask the caretaker to cook meals for you, and your company, and buy fresh fish, and produce from their small local market for an agreed price.

A backpackers accommodation with rooms good for 2-3persons, with common bathroom/s at 150PhP/Pax. The rooms do not have fans, but the rooms are located on the second floor making it airy, and less humid.

 

TRAVEL NOTES:

+ If you do decide to stay in accommodations that does not offer meals, you can buy fresh fish, and other produce from their small local market, and ask the caretaker to cook your meals for you.
+ Visitors are not allowed to pitched tents on the beach, or anywhere in the island to sleep in. Apo Island is a community-based tourism destination that encourages visitors to support them through services, and/or products they offer, and sell.
+ Support the community by buying your food, and drinks in the island.
+ Apo Island has a swamp area located at the western section of the island, so mosquitoes can be very brutal. These lodging houses offers mosquito nets, but in case that your room is not equipped with one, you can always ask the caretakers for it.
+ Electricity is only available at 6AM – 9PM, Apo Island Beach Resort has their own generator which runs 3 hours after electricity goes off.

 

You might like to check out the rest of the APO ISLAND posts:
Travel Guide | Apo Island Round Up

CAGAYAN DE ORO | Seda Hotel Review

One of my sister, Honeylou, came home for a short summer visit. We decided to squeeze in bonding time with the other sister Audrey, and our mom before she and her husband would fly off to Hongkong. We decided to try Seda Hotel Cagayan de Oro for it’s location. We also want to try this newly open, and functional Ayala Hotel at Northern Mindanao. Two hours away from home, Seda Hotel is an hour from the airport, and within the city proper, and walking distance to malls, and shops.

It is not a budget hotel and probably would not appeal to travellers who are concern with their budget. This however is ideal for business travellers, leisure travellers, staycationists, and for those balikbayans who wants a good accommodation while at Cagayan de Oro. Depending on their promos, availability of rooms, and the date you booked your accommodation with them, you can get a good deal when you plan your trips early. The rates include breakfast, wifi connection inside the vicinity of the hotel, and swimming pool, and gym use. Not bad for the rate.

We did an early online booking at Agoda Online Booking for our accommodations, which we scored 100USD off the rate for the dates intended for our stay. I would recommend to go for EARLY online booking — like crazy early, to get good deals on room rates.

Breakfast was of family talk, and future plans. She then rushed off, with her husband, and left us to stay a little bit more until we decided home was calling us. Depending on their promos, availability of rooms, and the date you booked your accommodation with them, you can get a good deal when you plan your trips early. Not bad for the rate. Room rates starts at 3,000++, you can check out Online Rates & Booking Here. The rates include breakfast, wifi connection inside the vicinity of the hotel, and swimming pool, and gym use.

Seda Hotel
C.M. Recto Corner Corrales Ave.,
Cagayan De Oro City

EN ROUTE APO ISLAND | Off to Apo Island After

“And the expensive wine served, and beer bottles handed had not tempted me one bit. But shoes were kicked off when the music was too loud, and inviting to just gawk around. For an outsider we may seem like tribesmen in bare feet dancing in circles with dresses of hues of pink. Only, I doubt that honeysuckle color is too dominating for any tribe to use as their own. So when the night wore out, we came back to the hotel all sweat, and a bit sore.”

5:31 AM.
I woke up at the sound of light snoring, and teeth grinding from maybe one of the guys in the room. It was still dark, and I knew if I was alone in that room, I would cried with the absence of windows. “Calm down”, I said to my claustrophobic thoughts. I looked over at Audee Mae’s sleeping form. How she can sleep that soundly regardless of space is something I envy. I decided that an early walk to the boulevard by myself won’t be happening after the wedding, and a party that night.

Around 8AM.
We hunted for a place to eat, I wanted to try Scobby’s, and it could’ve been the perfect place to have breakfast since it was located across the street from where we were staying. But it was still closed.
So we decided to have breakfast at an eatery on the next block. I honestly forgot what I got that morning until I browse through my pictures. How can anyone forgot sunny yellow serving pieces on bright orange table?  So I had pork menudo that must have been left too long on the fire. I can taste the charred meat, and consumed the carcinogenic substances along with it. And the soda choice? Only because it fit well with all the colors in the shop – that I remember. So I was shallow that morning as I ate just to get something into my stomach. 
9:06 AM.
Leaving the beautiful the bride’s bouquet behind (ahem, I know. No need to rub that in.), I thought maybe the universe can break it’s rules, and carry whatever powers that bouquet had to the housekeeping who will see it. Or at least get someone to smile before throwing it to the garbage somewhere. I put on the universal travel clothes in this tropical weather – a pair of shorts, shirt, and slippers, and shoved the honeysuckle colored dress, and a pair of high heels I wore last night was into my pack, and leaving the beautiful pink roses behind.

After we took care of our hotel bills, and said our goodbyes to the newly weds, we were off to the Bellfry Tower where lined up multicabs heading for Dauin, Negros Oriental were stationed. Since we were travelling in a group having persuaded for others to join us, it did not take too long to wait for other passengers to fill up the empty seats of the multicab.

HEREH

10-ish.
Our stop was at the Dauin Public Market. We were suppose to take either a pedicab or a jeepney from Dauin to Malatapay from that point. But if we took the bus for Zamboagita, we would’ve stopped at Malatapay, and saved us the trouble of the Dauin stop over. We asked around on how much the fare would be for each person from Dauin to Malatapay, and the drivers charged us 15PhP. It was not bad. But a jeepney fare would only cost us 8PhP, and we decided to be thrifty instead. The guys decided that the females should ride with Leonell, and Ronald who were on their way anyways. But I asked if I could commute with the rest of them. Imagine them saying some “trying to be cute” liners on my stubborn streak for insisting I would rather commute. Uhm, so they say, you gotta squeeze some juice to serve some for others, or something like that.
A few minutes after.
Carl after already having bought his pair of slippers from a stall somewhere, we waited for a jeepney bound for Zamboangita. The ride would be 10-15 minutes, and the jeepney was already loaded. Good thing there were enough seats for us, and we asked the driver to drop us at Malatapay market. Since I was seated at the passenger seat beside the driver, I asked him how to get to the jump-off from our intended stop. He said that we should take the road that heads to the beach side. It would not be a long walk, probably just 5 minutes or less he said. 

The lined up wooden stalls were empty, probably because it was off season, and they do not get visitors that much often around January. We bought snacks, and bottles cola at a store at a corner since we were near hungry. The rest of them were already at one of the cottages where Ronald took parking, and were waiting for us.
We were 10 in the group, and good thing they allowed us to take the big boat even if the capacity was only eight. Since Leonell, and Ronald will be heading back to the city the same day, they requested an additional fee for both of them for a special trip back since the rate only covers the one round trip transfer for the group. After that was taken care of, we found ourselves boarding the Jhon May 2 outrigger boat.
11:36 AM.
So it was January, the first month of the year, and yes we did not mind the fair warning we got that the waves can be brutal that early of the year, when it was fairly rough with the wind, and the current even if it is summer.  A head warning only allowed us to brace for a rough ride.

But during the hour crossing to the little island called Apo, the mainland Negros was just a sight to look at. something you can never appreciate if you’re landlocked in mainland. Sometimes beauty is best seen when you’re afar. This in a case of an island, okay.

It was near perfect to even see parts of the sky not covered in clouds, and everything else seems to be bathe in blue. Then again you do not always get what you want.

Because even during high noon, the waves crashed into the anterior of the boat as it coursed through the waters and it elicited giggles from us, cheers from the guys, and some very frightful screams from one very terrified passenger during that ride.

After that rough bangka ride traveling around ~7kms, we finally saw the community that is both the entry, and exit area for anyone going in, or out of the 12 hectare island. Even when we disembarked the boat, the water crashed into us, and made it slightly difficult making it to the shore. We weren’t so lucky to make it all dry, but the good thing is, we were kinda expecting that already.

TRAVEL NOTES:
+ For a more detailed transportation, and how to get there details, you might like to check out the Transportation Guide for Apo Island.
+ You might want to travel earlier than we did. Locals say that the waters is fairly rough because of the current, and wind around the area.
+ For those of you who easily get seasick, it is best that you take medications to keep you comfortable during the ride.
+ You might also need to place your valuables, and gadgets in waterproof casing/s, or pack/s, just in case. I kept my camera out but had a dry pack to keep it safe when ride went really rough. Oh! If you do do that, please keep a lens wipe handy, I did not realize there were few water drops on  the camera’s lens until I saw the photos.
+ Do tell your boatmen where you are staying, and what time you’re expected to be back at the mainland. Also ask them to look for you earlier that your agreed time of departure should weather goes bad, or the water current gets rough to travel on.